There's been quite a re-shuffle at Dover District Council, presented to full council on Wed 21 July 2021. Some of the Conservative Cabinet changes seem to downplay the work to adapt to, and mitigate, the fast-approaching Climate Crisis. The cross party DDC Climate Change Working Group was ended 2 June 2021 after 18 months of existence, 4 weeks after the KCC elections.
The DDC Conservative Cabinet meets 10 -11 times a year and has a monopoly of policy decisions, which many observers see as less than a democratic system. The reshuffle appears to signal that DDC Conservative Cabinet is disinclined to implement the KCC report 'Natural Solutions to Climate Change in Kent' commissioned from Buro Happold, accepted by KCC committee meeting 18th March 2021, and paid for by Kent taxpayers.
This is a summary of the DDC re-shuffle.
- Leader of the Council:
Cllr T J Bartlett
- Deputy Leader:
Cllr O C de R Richardson
(New Deputy Leader)
- Portfolio Holder for Community and Corporate Property:
Cllr O C de R Richardson
New. This Cllr was Portfolio Holder for environment previously, he is also a KCC Cllr
- Portfolio Holder for Finance, Governance, Digital and Climate Change:
Cllr C A Vinson
New post. Why is climate change separate from environment; and if it's lumped in with Finance now, will it be downgraded or upgraded as an issue?
- Portfolio Holder for Social Housing and Port Health border clearance:
Cllr D P Murphy
New post. This Cllr was Portfolio Holder Housing & Health; he is also newly appointed to KCC cabinet for economic development
- Portfolio Holder for Planning and Environment:
Cllr N S Kenton
New post. It was Portfolio Holder Planning; it is new to lump planning with Environment, and does NOT bode well for those concerned by over-development on greenfield sites
- Portfolio Holder for Transport, Licensing and Regulatory Services:
Cllr M Bates
New member of cabinet, post previously held by Cllr N Collor.
These are the people to email if we want better policies.
A 6 person DDC cabinet represent the Dover District Council wards of Little Stour & Ashstone, Guston, Kingsdown & St Margarets (x2), Walmer (x2) and Eastry Rural.
The total number of votes cast in 2019 for the 6 councillors who are cabinet members was 7486 out of 87,000 persons entitled to vote in Dover District (8.6% of the electorate).
Since 2019, the Conservative group on DDC have experienced 3 notable resignations; Keith Morris 2019, Jamie Rose and MJ Holloway 2021.
In addition to grave concern over lack of climate action by DDC, we also have, four months' of grave concerns about:
- Bin collections and hygiene
- Concerns about double trouble from two badly located clearance sites in Dover
- Concerns about loss of food-producing farmland (because of less regulated planning of building development)
- Lack of staff to harvest crops
- Lack of HGV drivers to keep supermarket shelves stacked.
If non-Conservatives won 17 or more of the 32 DDC seats in 2023, then folks in Dover district could benefit from having a better, locally-focussed council in 2023. The majority at Swale BC is a rainbow coalition of community-focussed councillors of different parties and none.
Will many more of us residents determine to show up and VOTE for a better district council in 2023?
(Article based on a shorter letter from Sarah Gleave, published in Dover Express 29 July 2021)